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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2014 LMC Law Summaries

A new law allows for first responders to administer
opiate antagonists to overdose patients.
The 2014 League of Minnesota Cities Law Summaries is out and available online. The annual publication highlights the new laws that were passed in the 2014 Minnesota Legislative Session. Here are a few that impact public safety:
  • A new statute authorizes public safety responders to administer “opiate antagonists” to overdose patients if authorized by the department’s medical director. It also provides some legal immunities for the patient or an individual who seeks medical help for the patient.

  • The time limit for officers to make a warrantless arrest for misdemeanor domestic assault was expanded from 24 hours to 72 hours.

  • Chapter 201 amends the forfeiture burden of proof by requiring a criminal conviction for judicial forfeiture of property associated with controlled substance offenses and vehicles used in drive-by shootings. 

  • Judges will now be ordering persons to turn
    in their firearms to local law enforcement.
  • There are new laws requiring the court to order persons subject to an order for protection to surrender their firearms to a
    federally licensed firearms dealer, a law enforcement agency, or a third party. The law also applies to persons convicted of domestic assault and stalking. In all of these cases, the judge may order the firearms to be turned over to the law enforcement agency for storage. The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association has a committee working on a model policy to assist their departments.

  • State statute 626A.42 now requires that a “tracking warrant” be obtained to acquire the location information of an electronic device. The statute defines the warrant requirements, exceptions, duration of the warrant, and the required reporting. 

  •  In an effort to respond to the retention and recruitment issues for many of the state’s volunteer emergency medical services and fire departments, there are now four regional pilot programs to fund $500 stipends to volunteers in those areas.

The last part of the document describes the bills that Did Not Become Law (DNBL). The DNBL section is popular, as these bills have a head start and almost certainly will be reintroduced in the next session. Bills that caught my eye in this section were the residential sprinkler requirements, traffic citation diversion programs, and classification of data from license plate readers.

You can find the 2014 LMC Law Summary online at:


                                          Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…Fire and Police Fall Workshops

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Collaboration in the Cloquet Area

A collaboration between communities resulted in a fire district.
The roundtable discussion session at the League’s 2014 Annual Conference was titled “Public Safety Collaboration Models.” That afternoon it quickly became apparent that the attendees from around the state had done their homework as they discussed the complexities and the politics of merging, contracting, or collaborating with another municipality to provided EMS, fire, or police services.

They also knew that for many cities, the collaboration discussion was more about being able to provide quality and responsive emergency service than it was about saving money. The recruitment and retention issues for EMS and fire departments are real—as is maintaining safe staffing levels and dealing with officer turnover for the police departments.

One of the successful collaborations they discussed was the Cloquet Area Fire District. The fire district is the result of cities of Cloquet, Scanlon, and Peach Lake Township coming together to jointly provide fire and EMS service. The district has been operating since January 1, 2009 and received a 2013 Bush Foundation’s “Prize for Community Innovation.”

The fire district's headquarters are in Scanlon.
I spent a few hours this spring with Kevin Schroeder, the fire chief for the Cloquet Area Fire District. He walked me through their process for the collaboration and through the numerous issues they resolved. He said that the collaboration was not immediately more cost effective—as resources had to be realigned to serve the entire district—but they were able to provide an increased level of service both in response and prevention. The district has also been operating long enough that they are now realizing the cost savings.  

When our roundtable discussion concluded, I told the group that when I left Chief Schroeder’s office that day in April, I realized he had never used the pronoun “I.”

Here is link to a four-minute video on the District, as well as the District’s website:


                                       Responder Safety = Public Safety

Up next…The 2014 LMC Law Summaries—What Impacts Public Safety

In the meantime, stay safe and be careful.